AIDAN ROBERTS the lead singer and main songwriter from Belles Will Ring spin-off THE MAPLE TRAIL talks to SAM TWYFORD-MOORE about his solo work.
Aidan Roberts, the lively lead guitarist of Belles Will Ring, pulls out a loose leaf of paper from his worn diary. It is a list of titles for one of two records he will be releasing this July. He tells me he can’t decide on a title. I tell him I really like the sound of Radio Twilight Lost and he nods and decides that it will be the title of the record. Writing the words down in his journal, sitting right in front of me, I feel like we’re making history out in the empty courtyard of some cafe.
Roberts will be releasing two solo albums in July under the moniker The Maple Trail. The first, Dirty Echo Spark, will be the more conventional of the two, with the lead single New York already getting airplay on radio stations Australia wide. The second, the freshly christened Radio Twilight Lost, will be released in a limited run with handmade, screen printed covers, and will be the more experimental and slower record of the two.
The Maple Trail sees Roberts working in a more traditional folk vein than his other outfit, Sydney based band Belles Will Ring. He compares the Maple Trail instead to American bands such as Grizzly Bear and Canada’s Broken Social Scene. He seems particularly enamored by Broken Social Scene, who Belles Will Ring toured with earlier in the year.
“The band I’ve put together for the live shows for The Maple Trail is made up of very talented friends. It’s going to be a six piece and I hope that it will have a Broken Social Scene vibe, where everyone swaps around instruments. Hopefully it will blossom into this thing where people come and go, and other people can contribute to the song writing.”
“Like a revolving door?” I ask.
“Yeah, exactly that. I think I’ve used that term before myself – revolving door … but, it’s very important that this band is not just Aidan’s world.”
Roberts is originally from the Blue Mountains and still visits there regularly to get away from the chaos of the city. That is something which, being from the Central Coast of NSW, I find myself identifying with. Roberts muses on his origins, saying, almost in passing, that “harsh climates force you indoors to create better stuff. You think about records like Nashville Skyline. They were snowed in on that record. I’d like to record an album like that one day, somewhere quite isolated, maybe the south of New Zealand.”
Somewhat surprisingly, The Maple Trail dates back to before Belles Will Ring. Roberts joined the latter after it had already been formed by childhood friend Liam Judson. Roberts and Judson had started making music together at the age of ten. They even recorded hip hop together, a forty second snippet of which appears on Radio Twilight Lost. Roberts originally intended to release any of his solo material on cassette tape only, but somewhere along the line more people got involved and it turned into “this big, complicated record, one hour long” and then somehow it became two records. For now, we can only be thankful that it did.